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Odysseus moon landing makes history (PHOTOS)

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Odysseus reaches the Moon, Earth, Space, MundoNow, News
Odysseus reaches the Moon (PHOTO: The Associated Press)
  • Odysseus moon landing is historic.
  • The space probe sends a weak signal.
  • The last craft to land on the moon was Apollo 17

A private company’s space probe reached the surface of the moon on Thursday, but the ship’s signal was weak, according to The Associated Press.

Flight controllers were working to improve contact with the first U.S. probe to reach the lunar surface in more than 50 years.

Despite intermittent communication, Intuitive Machines, the company that built and operates the probe, confirmed the moon landing.

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The company did not immediately provide an update on the status of the Odysseus moon landing, or even its exact location.

The company ended its live webcast shortly after confirming the moon landing.

Mission chief Tim Crain said the team was evaluating how to refine the probe’s only signal.

“What we can confirm, without a doubt, is our equipment is on the surface of the moon,” he declared.

Odysseus moon landing makes history

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Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus added: “I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface and we are transmitting. Welcome to the moon.”

The Odysseus moon landing put the United States on the lunar surface for the first time since NASA’s famous Apollo missions.

Intuitive Machines also became the first private operation to complete a moon landing.

That is something that only five nations have achieved. Another company tried last month, but never reached the moon and the probe crashed on Earth.

Odysseus is sending weak signals

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Odysseus descended from a low lunar orbit and headed to the surface in search of a relatively flat place among the cliffs and craters found near the south pole of the the Earth’s satellite.

Tension was rising at the company’s command center in Houston after the designated arrival time.

Meanwhile, controllers were awaiting a signal from the probe located about 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) away.

After almost 15 minutes, the company announced that it had received a weak signal from the ship.

NASA sends 6 experiments

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Launched last week, the six-legged, 14-foot titanium and carbon fiber probe carries six NASA experiments.

The space agency awarded the company $118 million to build and operate the ship.

This is part of its plans to commercialize trips to the moon with a view to sending astronauts there within a few years.

Intuitive Machines’ target location was about 186 miles (300 kilometers) from the south pole, around 80 degrees latitude and closer than any other spacecraft has approached.

Where did it land on the moon?

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The area is relatively flat, but surrounded by stones, hills, ravines and craters that could have frozen water, a big part of the attraction.

The probe was programmed to choose, in real time, the safest place near the so-called Malapert A crater.

The probe, which operates with solar energy, was scheduled to remain operational for a week, until the long lunar night.

In addition to NASA’s technology and navigation experiments, Intuitive Machines sold space inside the craft to several brands.

Odysseus lands on the moon 50 years after Apollo 17

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Columbia Sportswear flew its latest insulated jacket fabric.

Also sculptor Jeff Koons paid to send 125 small figurines, according to The Associated Press.

And the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University sent a set of cameras that capture photographs of the probe’s descent.

The Odysseus module achieved the milestone of being the first U.S. craft to land on the moon after the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

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